We all hate to be wrong, but in reality we are wrong often.  We just don’t want to admit it to ourselves or others.  That holds us back from successful dating.  When we can admit we were wrong, we can learn from our experiences.

mr_handSchool taught us wrongly
In school getting a wrong answer generally meant you were either not very smart or you didn’t work hard enough.  Either way, you were not enough, inadequate, and that’s a feeling we try to avoid. We tend to carry this way of thinking into all matters of our lives, and that may be our biggest mistake.  We should be able to be wrong without shame.

heatseekerHeat seeking missile
The simple but effective intelligence of heat seeking missiles comes from the ability to know when it is wrong. It changes course regularly to find its moving target. When its heat sensor says that any move has resulted in less heat, the missile knows it’s wrong and its guidance system moves away from the cool and back toward the heat. Simple but effective.

Be a match seeking missile
Missiles learn a simple lesson from being wrong, how to correct themselves. If you are going off course and not finding a match, correct that.  It’s simple. (not really)

Missiles feel no shame from being wrong.  Don’t get hung up on your so-called “failures.”  You can call them your “direction corrections” instead.   Expect that direction corrections will be an important part of your dating process. Recognized mistakes are not just excusable, they are desirable!

Missiles make many corrections before finding their target. Your chances of finding the right person increase dramatically if you are willing to cull through a wide group of wrong people.  If your match-seeking sensor is on, you’ll learn something with each wrong move.

“Your best teacher is your last mistake”    Ralph Nader

So, get out there, make some mistakes, learn some things, and find your target!

No one knows you as well as you know yourself (presuming basic mental health). You know where you’ve been, what you’ve done, how you feel about things, what you dream about, etc. elizabethanYet, we all find it challenging to classify ourselves into personality types with confidence.

Know Yourself
As you get involved in the dating game there are definite benefits to knowing generally what kind of person you are.
Know what you are offering
Not everyone wants the same things from a mate.  Haven’t you noticed that with some happy couples one is a talker and the other tends to be less talkative. The less talkative one probably likes it that the talker brings that to the table. Do you like to touch? Listen? Debate? Cook?

Know what you want
Do you want someone to exercise with you? Or to leave you alone while you exercise?  How much time do you want to be alone, with your mate, or with friends? Do you want your mate to structure your vacations for you? Do you want to do it? Do you like unstructured vacations?

distortedjpgHow to learn about yourself
Sorry, but while introspection is helpful, it will rarely give you a clear picture of yourself. We all have biases about ourselves that make it difficult to see ourselves. You are trying to get past that cloudy thinking, not accentuate it.

Counseling
Counseling can be a great way to learn about yourself. Sure, it takes time and money, but a good counselor (not one who just tells you what feels good) can open your eyes to see yourself in amazing ways.

Personality Systems
An easy way to start seeing yourself better is personality test like the Myers-Briggs 16 personality types.  Google “personality test” and you will find a bunch.  Some folks like the Enneagram personality typing scheme.  Look for yourself.

baby_in_mirrorDon’t be Afraid to See Yourself
You are who you are, warts and all.  You are an amazing product of nature and nurture; a complex, wonderful human being. The more you know about yourself, the more you can appreciate yourself.

People are window shopping on your dating site. Some may pause for a moment to glance and then move on. Some will take a little more time to look at your display in the window to consider whether they want to enter your shop.  Make your display get attention and interest from the type of shoppers who might buy what you are offering.
eyeglass-window-womenretroCapture Attention
Online daters are out shopping for dates.  They are looking in the various shop windows to see what appeals.  Why should they focus on your display?

Dating sites tend to arrange potential dates with thumbnail pictures and simple bios. If your likely dates won’t click your pic, you are doomed.  Make that image draw shoppers to the window. Be eye-catching!

Inspire Interest
It is essential that you have a basic understanding of what interests your shopper.  Yes, your shopper is interested in finding a person like you, but why would your shopper want you?  What needs of that person can you satisfy?  If your profile gives your shopper the idea that you will satisfy those needs, then you have inspired interest.  (Hint – the greatest need to be satisfied is companionship.)

No Price Tags
Window displays don’t show prices.  Prices scare people away.  fabioOne of the biggest mistakes we see with online profiles is showing the price.  Do you wonder how you might be showing your price?  You display it when your profile creates high expectations of what you require from your potential mate.  Profiles do it explicitly and implicitly.  Do you really require your mate to be tall, lean, athletic, rich, and possess a graduate degree or are you just in fantasy land? Your shoppers aren’t perfect and, most importantly, they are not likely to be altogether confident in themselves.  Remember, your display is there to appeal to the shoppers needs, not to over-state your needs (real or not) that may scare off buyers.

window shoppingIt’s Not Facebook
Window displays work best with simple and powerful images. You don’t need to put the whole store in the window.  You want to create a positive feeling about you that inspires a further look. Yes, your store has a diversity of items, but you have to get the shopper in the door before the real shopping begins.

Most people feel insecure about creating a profile for the world to see. We sure did. One way many of us compensate for that insecurity is to try to create a profile that makes us look good.  Well, that is OK as long as it also serves our purpose of communicating our abilities to satisfy the needs of the desirable shoppers.  That is often not the case.  Too much about where we have been and what we’ve done may turn off some shoppers. Don’t let your profile seem like bragging about yourself.  With your profile you should be exposing yourself in a manner that makes you desirable to the people you want.  No more, no less.

You would think that the number one “Deal Breaker” for dating would be something that we can’t easily control, but that is not the case. You might think it is something people commonly lie about in their online profiles, but that is not the case.

Messy

Messy  Sloppy  Dirty  Disheveled  Grubby  Grimy  Unclean  Soiled  Stained  Smelly  Unsightly  Bedraggled
Bad personal appearance, messy car, and cluttered home are cited as the number one dating turnoffs.  Both men and women do it, and both men and women are turned off by it.

Why so messy?
Everyone knows being sloppy will hurt their chances, but people do it anyway. Dates show up unbathed (and smelly).  Dates wear obviously dirty clothes. Cars have piles of trash from years of accumulation.  If you want to lose at the dating game, being a slob is a fine game plan.  It’s proven to turn off dates.

Do the work – Get the rewards
Anyone can be clean. It just takes a little effort. Forget the excuses.  Everyone knows that being messy just means you aren’t willing to make the effort, and that unwillingness is a strong statement of disrespect for your date.  We are sensual creatures. We are attracted or repelled by what our senses encounter.  Make your sights, sounds, and smells attractive on your dates. (You may then be able to offer touch and taste later)

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”    Benjamin Franklin

People clean up wellsharp-dressed
It’s amazing how much better people can look when they try! Nice clean clothes, a haircut and a reasonable amount of grooming go a looooooong way.  Ever had an old car detailed?  It will amaze you how nice an old car can look. Good posture? Why not.

“Accept me the way I am” is nonsense
We’ve heard people say they don’t think they should appear different on a date than they normally appear. That logic is flawed. There are only two conclusions to be had from that approach:  1) the date is not a significant event that requires special effort or 2) this is the absolute best the person can do.  People usually shave, bathe, and put on nice clothes for a wedding or job interview.  Why not for a date?  Telling your dates that they are unimportant won’t help you.

Packaging
One of the reasons Apple is the most valuable company in the world is their great packaging.  Their gear looks cool. Other companies have learned that too.  Appearances matter.   Ever noticed how much effort goes into a perfume bottle?  Champagne labels?

Number Two Deal Breaker?
Laziness!  Are you seeing a pattern?

Hi, I’m a lazy slob.  What about a second date?

You only have one chance to make a first impression!

We encourage you to take the time and make the effort to deliver the first impression that works best for you.

Put your best foot forward = to act or appear your best; to try to make a good impression

To Act and Appear Your Best Online
The first goal of your online profile and pictures is to catch the attention of dates who are good matches for you.  After you catch their attention, your online presence needs to create sufficient interest in you to make dating likely.

Rule # 1 – Appeal to universal desires
Unless you are one of those rare people looking for something “peculiar” in a relationship (shades of whatever), count on the fact that most people are looking for the same normal things in a relationship.  Not many daters are looking to avoid people who are “nice” and “interesting” and “happy” and “healthy” and “honest” and….

Rule # 2 – Avoid unnecessary turn-offs
Sometimes trivial things detract from your image. Skip displaying information that is irrelevant to you. For example, including your astrological sign may give someone the impression that you are an astrology true believer.  That may be an unnecessary turn-off to some people.  over-accessorizedThere is a tendency to believe that the more you put in your profile, the more likely you will attract a date.  Not true.  Show what is important to you.

Rule # 3 – Keep the “your” in your best
If you are creating an attractive image that is not you, that is not likely to benefit you in the long run.  On the other hand, get past the generic descriptors when describing yourself.  Maybe sit down with a friend and “brainstorm” what makes you special.  Sometimes others see us more clearly than we do.

Rule # 4 – Don’t try to hide the obvious
Research has proven that being open about your obvious characteristics you may believe are  “negatives” works much better than trying to hide them.  For example, if you think you are too short to be attractive, it’s better to show you are comfortable with your height than to initially appear to be hiding your height.  People are attracted to confidence.  Don’t make your insecurities (we all have them) the focus of their attention.  If your profile seems to say “Yes, I’m 5′ X”. I’m good with it.”  you defuse the issue.  More often than not, what you think is your big “negative” is not nearly as big a deal to potential dates.

Fit and Balance
We have nine kids between us. Wait, let us recount. Yep, nine kids, and that has not been a problem for us. Actually, it has been an opportunity to have a better relationship.

When you think of finding the match for you and your kids you might ask yourself, “Who in the world would want all of us?” Sounds like mean old Mr Fear has been whispering in your ear.  We all know that guy too well. In reality, there are thousands of people who want all of you. Your job is to find the one you want.

Fitpuzzle-pieceXSmall
We tend to think that finding the right person is all about precise fit.  Life is not that demanding.  As we have all learned as we’ve traveled through our lives, things don’t work out exactly as we imagined they would, but they work out.  The pieces of life actually have a sloppy fit. That looseness is both good and bad; bad, only if you insist on perfect fits in a world that will always frustrate you by denying you perfection, good, because your options for a “good fit” go up astronomically when you accept imprecision.  Forget the perfect fit image.  People are flexible and ever changing, unlike jigsaw puzzle pieces (unless you’re 4 and think you can cram in that close to fitting piece).

wonderland-mobileBalance
Think about getting families together as adding to a hanging mobile.  Each person is a piece. Balance gives a desirable harmony. Begin by imaging how all these pieces for your family are arranged and hanging together.  Rarely is a family hanging in perfect balance at any one moment.  For example, one child may be too heavy with a personal problem that throws everyone else out of their comfortable place.  Maybe your family now has a nice balance that you don’t want to spoil.

Balance Rule #1 – Light pieces are easy to balance
Adding one small piece is pretty easy.  It doesn’t need to throw the family mobile into a crazy arrangement.  Start light with dating, like not meeting the children until you’ve dated a while and not trying to jump into a parental role too soon, if ever.

Balance Rule #2 – Each added piece changes the balance
When a new piece is introduced, don’t act like it’s not happening. As the parent your job is to observe the consequences of the new piece and deal with them in an appropriate manner.  Maybe introducing a new partner means spending more, not less, time with your kids.  It’s your balancing work that needs to be done.

Balance Rule #3 – Adding a group of pieces is a serious balance challenge
The two of you must have your act together before attempting the challenge of combining your family mobiles. A wire and metal mobile maker can work on a table then pick it up and try the balance.  You don’t have that luxury.  You have to hang new pieces while your family mobile is swinging in space.  You need serious planning and great execution.  Even with those things, expect some crazy swings and collisions at first.  Adjust and compensate with all your focus, and you will achieve a workable balance.

Balance Rule # 4 – Keep your mobile out of the wind
Wind on mobiles can be destructive.  With family mobiles that wind is fear.  It will happen. Anticipate it, and deal with it with love and intelligence.  You are going to be afraid, and your children will too. Like fear of the dark, fear of the unknown is rarely necessary because of real dangers.  Ask yourself and your children about the real concerns with changing the family dynamics.  Honor the fear, don’t discount it.  Remember, it is often easier to move the mobile out of the wind than to untangle the mobile after the wind messes it up.

A link to Wonderland Studio on Etsy who offer the mobile above. No connection to us – we just think they make nice mobiles.

Pay attention to your sources of advice!

“No enemy is worse than bad advice.”   Sophocles

keep-calm-and-follow-the-moneyWhat is their Motive?
If your source of advice is a commercial enterprise, how do they make their money?  Ask yourself “Is this advice being given because they want my dating to succeed?”

Click Bait
Many web sites make their money through the advertising on the site.  Every time someone clicks onto their site they make a little money from their advertisers.  If a site claims something like “The TOP 5 SECRETS to finding EVERLASTING LOVE” and their web pages are plastered with ads, can you guess what they are up to?   Do they care about you or your click?  If the claim is too good to be true, well….

Books
Granted, people generally write books to make money.  They also spend a lot of time writing, and, if the book comes from a big publisher, there has likely been some intelligent editing. We’ve read quite a few books on dating. Some are relatively worthless. Some offer real help. Some we disagree with entirely.  The good thing about buying from bookstores is that you can thumb through the book to see if you like what is being said.  Amazon has reviews that may be helpful, but we’ve purchased some well-reviewed books that were ludicrously bad.  Hey, at least we got a laugh.

Dating Websites
There are some excellent dating websites out there. We are really glad we were able to attract each other through match.com.  While we see no reason to believe the dating websites don’t want to help make matches, they make more money the longer you pay to have their service.  Hmmm, there seems to be a conflict.helping

Who Cares?
We believe there are many good people in this world who care about the well-being of others. Keep your eyes open wide (and your hand on your wallet) and look for the caring people who want to help you.

Find your Own Way using Directions
Recognize that you can figure out this dating challenge.  Also, recognize that it’s smart to find help.  You can drive from NYC to LA without a map, but it’s not such a bad idea to use one.  On the other hand, a map won’t get you there, you still must get behind the wheel (and pay for the gas).


The title is a famous marketing statement made popular in the 1930’s. It’s based on a simple progression that takes place in the human mind:

DESIRE    ATTRACTION    SATISFACTION

Desire for Steak
Steaks sell because of a powerful recurring desire, hunger.  That’s not the only desire though.  There is something about grilled meat that really turns on most people (no offense intended to our vegetarian and vegan friends).  Maybe it’s the memory of the satisfaction of eating a hot, juicy, and tender steak.

Sell the Sizzlesizzle
Sizzle is stimulating. It creates an eagerness for the steak. We all know that instant appetite we feel when we smell baking bread or grilling meat.  It’s a primal instinct of desire. We can choose whether or not to pursue the desired thing, but we don’t choose the attraction.  The attraction works at a subconscious level.  We may need to be in the right mood to be susceptible to the attraction, but it works on us whether we want it to or not.

Deliver the Steak
Unless you don’t care about the customer, you have to deliver what the sizzle promised. You have to meet expectations or there will be disappointment.  Satisfaction will bring them back for more.

Dating Desires
To understand your sizzle you must first understand the desires that you may choose to satisfy. OK, everybody’s mind jumps to the desire for sex.  While that is often a powerful desire and should not be overlooked when considering your sizzle, it is not necessarily the most powerful desire your potential date may have.  It is surely not the only desire.  The desire for companionship is strong.  What about the desire for appreciation?  Happiness.  Romance. Giving. Touch. Safety. The list for what people want from the person they hang with goes on and on.

Dating Sizzle
Like a steak’s sizzle, your dating sizzle comes from the highly attractive attributes of what satisfies the desires.  Eating satisfies hunger.  The sights, sounds, and, smells of a steak cooking are the attractions.  The desire for steak is relatively simple compared to dating desires.  You will have to work harder at being creative to discover your dating sizzle.  The desire for sex is often believed to be one of the simpler desires and therefore one of the easier ones to produce sizzle. Sizzles for the companionship desire are more challenging. Those sizzles are even more challenging if you try to create sizzle with written words; for example, “long walks on the beach” or “cuddling together on the sofa” or “attending the opera together.”  candlelit

Pictures can sizzle way more than written words (unless you are Shakespeare). Humans can be powerfully stimulated by images. This is why advertising uses images.  There is a big difference between writing “I love candlelit dinners for two” and this image. Your dating profile pictures are very important to creating your sizzle.

What you do on a date has great potential to sizzle. Your packaging can sizzle. Dressing attractively, being nicely groomed, and wearing a nice fragrance (even though every carnivore loves the smell of bacon, we don’t recommend it) can stimulate a multitude of desires. A kind word can be powerful, not to mention a smile or laugh.  You may not be able to give your date a lifetime of love on your first date, but you can give them the expectation that you might be the source of such love.  Did we mention the excellent sizzle of eye contact held just a little longer than normal?

Dating Satisfaction
Only create the high expectations that you want to live up to.  It may be tempting to offer what you won’t deliver, but it’s obviously a doomed enterprise. Know what you will be delivering before you sell the sizzle.  The good thing is that most people want what most other people can satisfy. If someone desires companionship, it’s not too hard to find someone else who wants the same thing. If your date desires appreciation, is it so hard to say “mmmmm, this is good” when you eat your date’s cooking?  Deliver the goods your sizzle sold and you have the makings of a great relationship.  Sizzle gets them in the door, but satisfaction keeps them coming back for more.

Sell the sizzle – deliver the steak!

Care about what is important
We encourage you to care about what’s important in your life. This is not hard to do. Care about your friends and family, care about those who are suffering, care about doing a good job, and care about so many more important things.

shaken-not-stirredIt’s also good to care about a few things that are special to you. Wine. Baseball. Crochet. Even martinis, shaken not stirred. Having refined sensibilities in an area of special interest makes a person interesting.

Don’t care about what is not important
This precept sound a little odd and very easy to do, but often it’s harder to do than you think.  It’s commonly expressed as, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  In relationships, the benefit of not caring too much about too many things is that you will be easier to get along with. For example, sometimes having discriminating tastes about every little thing crosses the line from interesting into being just plain picky.

How does not caring help relationships?
We have all heard the conversation that goes something like this:
Want to go out to dinner?  Sure, where? How about Chinese? Not feeling it. Italian? Had it yesterday. That new restaurant on Broadway? I read a so-so review. How about our favorite place? It’s wearing thin on me. Hamburgers?  Yuck.      et cetera ad nauseam
spoiled
Wouldn’t it work better as a respectful exchange:
Want to go out to dinner?  Sure, where? How about Chinese? That new place on Broadway? Sure, let’s go!

Or even:  Want to go out to dinner?  Sure, you pick a place, just not XYZ, I ate there at lunch.

While the first couple is getting close to blowing up the others are on their way to an enjoyable evening.

Don’t be a pushover.  Stand up for what is important to you, but don’t make too big a deal over all the little things. Most of the time, when nothing critical is being decided, it will serve you better to be compliant, easy-going, laid-back, chill, mellow, and undemanding.  Your date will appreciate it and with any luck will return the favor.

It can be a challenge to separate what is truly important to you from what you can easily let go, but it is worth doing.

Just say yes!

It’s true, you are a liar.  Don’t try to tell me that you didn’t tell your grandmother that you really loved the teal sweater she gave you for your 12th birthday.

Yes, you are a teller of “white lies.”  We all are.  Sometimes deceit is excused by the greater good it serves. Sometimes white lies are strong.  For example, publicly denouncing your family to save all of their lives. Sometimes white lies are so light they are barely recognizable. You say “It’s OK” when it’s really not because you know it’s not worth fighting about.

It’s also common knowledge that there are quite a few white lies in dating profiles.  Quite a few black lies too.

800px-Auto_Racing_Black_White.svgHow to determine if your lie is white or black
The test is simple, but it’s correct application is sometimes difficult.

A deceit is excused (white lie) if the good it serves is greater than the bad of lying.
Lies, standing alone, are always black.
Generally, societies and religions have straightforward beliefs about lying.  Lying is wrong. There is a clear recognition that people live better together when communication is truthful. It’s hard to imagine a functional society that encourages lying.

It’s the good intentions that whiten a lie.
The big test of “good intentions” is to determine who will be receiving the good.  It can’t be the person lying. Lies that have the sole purpose of benefiting the liar stay black.

When is an untruth in a dating profile a white lie?
Some black lies in online dating profiles are really obvious.  It’s pretty clear with the broke guy who claims to be a millionaire and posts pictures of his younger, handsome cousin who kinda looks like he did ten years ago.

What about lying about your age?  Just 2 years, 41 to 39?  Figuring the good intentions of that misstatement is not easy.  If some people cut off their matches at 40 for no particularly important reason, and the two of you could be a match made in heaven, that untruth seems to be leaning toward white.

What about saying you’re single when you are still married – but expect your divorce to be final next week? What if you say you are 2 inches taller than reality?  What if you claim to be slender when you are carrying a few extra pounds – but you have already committed to an exercise program?

If these small lies are unimportant to your potential dates, are you merely working with the system for the benefit of both of you?

Finding someone who would really not care about the untruth, but would love to be with you, seems to be the common “good intention” that whitewashes small lies in your online dating profile.

pants

 

Can it be a white lie to give the only right answer to the question “Do these pants make me look fat?”